Since the 2003-2004 season Wade has been electrifying the league with his incredible slashing ability and his patented pump fake. But after last season when he made a return to his second home with the Heat, who were knocked out of the playoffs by the Philadelphia 76ers, many people were wondering if they had just seen the last of Dwayne Wade. In the offseason there was speculation that Wade would sign with the Zhejiang Golden Bulls who offered him a three year $25M contract. Wade shot down the rumors saying if he were to come back and play basketball for one more season that it would be for the Miami Heat and nobody else. Besides that Wade was pretty quiet about his decision on possible retirement. The Heat stayed quiet about the situation letting Wade make the decision on his own and not pressuring him.
Wade has had a storied career with many accomplishments. In his first year he was a part of the All Rookie first team which also featured fellow newcomers LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. In his second season Wade was joined by Shaquille O´Neal who was traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Miami Heat. That year Wade was selected to his second All-Star team and led the Heat to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons who they lost to in a tough 7-game series.
In the '05-'06 season Wade was already seen as one of the best players in the league regardless of his youth. He proved this even more with his remarkable playoff performances like his 28 point dominance against his hometown Bulls in Game 5 of the first round of the playoffs. Wade led the Heat all the way to its first finals appearance against the Dallas Mavericks with big man Dirk Nowitzki at the helm. After falling down 0-2 in the series Wade went on a scoring tear scoring 36 points twice, and putting up 42 and 43 points in other games. The Heat won the series in six games on the road in Dallas. After previously being thought as O’Neal’s sidekick, Wade took home the Finals MVP trophy averaging 34.7 points throughout the games.
Years 2007-2010 saw Wade play at a exceptionally high level making All-Star and All-NBA teams, but was plagued with injuries and multiple playoff defeats. In total Wade missed 74 games and underwent a mix of surgeries and rehab.
Many believe that the '08-'09 season was Wade’s best after he won the scoring title averaging 30.2 points per game, so it came as a surprise when Lakers player Kobe Bryant won the award instead.
During the '10-'11 offseason Wade’s second contract was up. With Shaq gone to the Phoenix Suns, no other all-star around him, and a disappointing first round exit at the hands of the Boston Celtics, Wade had many teams calling. With a little influence from Miami-Dade County commissioners voting unanimously to rename the county "Miami-Wade County" for one week from July 1–7, 2010 in Wade's honor, Wade announced that he would be resigning with the Heat along with former Toronto Raptors star Chris Bosh.
Already the upcoming season was looking to be a great one with the addition of a superstar bigman Bosh. A day later LeBron James announced that he would be taking his talents to South Beach to join Wade and Bosh and form the NBA’s first “superteam”. Immediately, the media was calling them the 2011 NBA Champions. It made sense too. Three all-stars in their prime on the same team should be a cake walk for the Heat.
But the first quarter of the season didn’t go as planned with the Heat posting a 12-11 record after just 23 games. As the season went on, they got back in line and finished with a 58-24 record and the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Wade, James, and Bosh all made the All-Star team. They breezed through the Eastern Conference playoffs and met the Dallas Mavericks again in the finals. The Mavericks proved too much and defeated the Heat in six games, with LeBron underperforming.
The media negatively jumped on the team wondering how a team with three all-stars could have they possibly lost.
The three stars knew something would have to change if they were to win championships. They came to an agreement that LeBron would be the first option, Wade the second, and Bosh the third. For the next three years the system seemed to work. They won the championship back to back years against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs. Wade captured his second and third rings making him one of the few players that had multiple rings in the league.
In the 2014 Finals, the Heat lost in a rematch against the Spurs in five games. James' contract was up and his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers were on his radar. In the summer of 2014 James announced he was leaving the Heat and returning to the Cavaliers.
Wade and Bosh remained in Miami and geared up for the upcoming season. Obviously, the Heat didn’t do as well as last season as they missed the playoffs with a 37-45 record. Wade still continued to play at a high level making the All-Star team for the 11th time in his career.
In the following off-season Wade opted out his contract and signed a one-year $20 million deal. The season followed with another good one by Wade, but due to injuries he missed out on most of the season and the Heat missed out on the playoffs. The next season, the Heat wouldn't agree to Wade's salary demans, and he left to sign with his hometown Chicago Bulls.
Wade teamed up with All-Star forward Jimmy Butler and veteran point-guard and once rival Rajon Rondo. Throughout the season the chemistry between the veterans and the young players were rocky, but they were able to work past it and secure the last spot in the playoffs. The team fell to the Boston Celtics in six games.
The offseason came and the Bulls looked to rebuild. They traded away Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves and waived Rondo. Not wanting to go down that route, Wade asked to be bought out by the Bulls. Three days later Wade was picked up by the Cleveland Cavaliers rejoining his good friend LeBron James.
Unfortunately the reunion didn’t go as well as they planned. The chemistry was off and egos got in the way. At the trade deadline of 2018, Wade and a number of players from the Cavs were traded away. Wade found himself once again with the Miami Heat and played with the Heat the rest of the season. The Heat made the playoffs but lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in five games.
After Game 5 a reported asked Wade if the NBA had seen the last of Wade. He responded simply with “We will see”.
Many fans were nervous that Wade wouldn’t come back for a 16th season. After being quiet about a possible retirement Wade broke his silence with a video on his Instagram page titled “One Last Dance”. The video was a heartfelt talk directed at his fans about what had been on his mind throughout the off-season. He explained his journey and what he went through leading up to this point. "I feel like it's right to ask you guys to join me for one last dance, for one last season," Wade said. "This is it. I've given this game everything that I have, and I'm happy about that. I'm going to give it for one last season, everything else I have left."